Wednesday Mar 18 2009
Citrus Heights man takes fatal leap off Foresthill Bridge near Auburn
By: Gus Thomson/Auburn Journal
Body of suicide victim recovered Wednesday from isolated American River shoreline
A reportedly despondent Citrus Heights man took his life Tuesday by jumping off the Foresthill Bridge. The 27-year-old man's wife told Citrus Heights Police that he was depressed when he traveled to a Sierra resort to spend the day snowboarding. He called her from a bar near the resort saying he wouldn’t be coming home that day and was planning to spend the night at a nearby hotel, authorities said. The victim was identified Wednesday afternoon by the county coroner’s office as Andrew Pillado. Sgt. Kurt Walker of the Placer County Sheriff’s Department said an alert California Highway Patrol officer noticed an empty vehicle parked near the Foresthill Bridge at 9:45 p.m. Tuesday. He was on his way to work at the time but checked back at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday and saw keys were still in the ignition. A license plate check to see if the car was stolen led to a check with his wife and the possibility that the man had jumped off the bridge. At least 44 people have fallen or jumped to their deaths during the 34-year history of the bridge, according to an unofficial Journal count. The bridge is 730 feet above the north fork of the American River and the man's body was found Wednesday morning on the shore about 30 yards from the river, about 700 feet from the span’s railing. Sheriff's officers and a state Parks Department ranger hiked down to the body but needed the assistance of the highway patrol helicopter to airlift it out. The airlift was completed at 11 a.m. The man's death occurred just a day after a woman who told rescuers that she wanted to die had plunged down a steep embankment near the bridge. She survived, with serious leg and back injuries. The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.